The Great Georgia Pollinator Census is Coming!

Reprinted from Marietta Educational Garden Center News

On August 23rd and 24th, 2019, Georgians all across the state will become citizen scientists and participate in the first Great Georgia Pollinator Census. The census is an important initiative to document a snapshot of Georgia's pollinator populations.   Other goals include increasing sustainable pollinator habitat and increasing the entomological literacy of Georgia citizens. Organizers want people to go from "oooh, it's a bug" to "look at the tarsal claw on that bee!". 

All Georgians are invited to be part of the project.
Pilot projects conducted in 2017 and 2018 focused on community and school gardens.   The results of the pilot projects allowed organizers to improve the counting strategy and to create educational materials for gardeners and teachers. Many schools used the pilot projects as part of their STEM work.
The project website contains all the information a citizen needs to participate. An Insect Identification and Counting Guide explains the details of the project. On the census dates people are encouraged to pick a favorite pollinator plant from their garden to use for counting. This plant should have many blooms that are attracting insects.
For 15 minutes, participants will count the insects landing on their plant and put them in the following categories:

Carpenter bees
Bumble bees
Honey bees
Small bees
Other insects

You do not have to be an entomologist to participate; they are not looking for species level identification. The Insect Identification & Counting Guide gives participants all the tools needed to tell a bee from a fly and a bumble bee from a carpenter bee. The website also has information on building pollinator habitat as well as information about pollinator events going on around the state. After counting, participants will upload their counts to the website.

For those excited about learning more about these insects, the Georgia Pollinator Census Facebook page shares educational snippets daily and is a format for insect discussion.
Pollinator conservation is important to everyone from apartment dwellers to farmers. Homeowners will learn through this project that many of Georgia's native bees forage in a small area, 300-500 ft², and if the bees' needs are met they will stay and provide valuable ecoservices for that homeowner. Participation in this event can make a real and lasting difference in pollinator protection.
Sign up at the website. Join our Georgia Pollinator Census Facebook group. Create dedicated pollinator habitat. Learn about insects. Count with organizers in August. Be part of Georgia pollinator history.

Go online to for more info and to see the identification guide.

GGaPC Counting Guide
Census Info Sheet

For more information, contact:
Willie Maxwell
Butterflies and Bees Chairman
GCG Special Project Chairman: Plant for Pollinators